All development projects in California are required to complete a public permitting process prior to proceeding to construction. The Cadiz Water Project was required to undergo a public environmental review and approval process in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that also included a separate approval from the County of San Bernardino under its desert groundwater ordinance.
CEQA is the most stringent environmental review law in the nation – far stronger than its federal equivalent, the National Environmental Policy Act. The Cadiz Water Project has been subject to the full scope of CEQA review, starting in February 2011.
The Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) released the Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for public review in December 2011, and 200 individuals and local, state and federal agencies participated in the 70-day public comment period. In July 2012, SMWD released the Final EIR and held public hearings, followed by a unanimous vote on July 31 to certify the Final EIR and approve the Project and its groundwater management plan.
As the local government entity responsible for overseeing groundwater resources in the Cadiz Valley, the County of San Bernardino served as a Responsible Agency in the CEQA review process. Following a public hearing process, on October 1, 2012, the County approved the Project’s Groundwater Management, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan (GMMMP) and the Project’s conservation of groundwater.
Prior to construction, the Project will also be considered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which owns and operates the Colorado River Aqueduct and much of the region’s water transportation infrastructure. To learn more about MWD’s role in the Project, click here (link to: http://www.cadizinc.com/role-of-mwd/)
“The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a bedrock law for environmental protection in California, and its strength derives from the ability of the public to participate equally with financially interested parties in reviewing the environmental impacts of a project.” – League of Conservation Voters